I-TEAM: Yes, even your car needs to be wiped of your personal information before you sell it

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Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- We live in smart homes, talk on smart phones, and yes, drive smart cars.

In world full of smart everything, we need to be extra smart about protecting our personal information, including the data we store in our vehicles.

Newer cars will store contacts, direct you home, take you to your mom’s house, and even open a garage door for you – but it all comes with a premium price.

Andy Jones doesn't play when it comes to his customers' trade-ins. He wipes personal information from every vehicle’s system before putting it on the lot at Gerald Jones Honda.

So, how many people actually reset their car’s information before they trade it in?

“Almost none,” Jones said.

They automatically reset used cars at Gerald Jones, but not everyone thinks to do that when they list their vehicles for sale online.

“For convenience, we store everything like we do on our phone, so you store your address, your mom’s address, your best friend's address, your daughter's address, so if someone gets in and wants to see where you've been, they can ride around,” Jones said. “They got the button for the garage -- push the button at every house until the garage opens."

Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay could put your personal information at risk if you don't wipe your vehicle before listing it.

So how do you reset your vehicle? Manufacturers recommend that you thoroughly consult the car’s instruction manual for that information. You can also ask the dealership where you bought your car originally.

"As cars get smarter, we need to think of them as -- as you said – it’s a computer. You need to clear the computer. You wouldn't hand someone your laptop with your passwords. Don't give them your car with your passwords,” Jones said.

That’s smart advice in a world of smart everything.

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